In the Spring of 1940 Richard Feynman received a phone call from Professor John Wheeler. Many years later, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech (11 December 1965) Feynman described the content of this phone call: ‘I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, “Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass.” “Why?” “Because, they are all the same electron!” And, then he explained on the telephone, “suppose that the world lines which we were ordinarily considering before in time and space – instead of only going up in time were a tremendous knot, and then, when we cut through the knot, by the plane corresponding to a fixed time, we would see many, many world lines and that would represent many electrons, except for one thing. If in one section this is an ordinary electron world line, in the section in which it reversed itself and is coming back from the future we have the wrong sign to the proper time – to the proper four velocities – and that’s equivalent to changing the sign of the charge, and, therefore, that part of a path would act like a positron.”‘ From this stunning proposal Feynman (generally recognised as being the greatest theoretical physicist of the late 20th century) extrapolated that positrons (effectively positively charged electrons and therefore a form of “anti-matter”) are simply electrons travelling backwards in time. In 1949 Feynman published a paper “The Theory of Positrons” which appeared in the Physical Review (76 (76): 749). These ideas come from the startling fact that ALL electrons are absolutely identical. This becomes more complex when one applies to this the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which states that you can never know the position AND momentum of an electron, only either or. Indeed what I find even more weird is how an electron is 1,836 times smaller than a proton. Amazingly each proton has exactly the same charge as each electron to within an accuracy to 19 decimal points. Indeed each proton is made up of three quarks so the charge of three quarks is exactly equal to the charge of an electron. These are the “building blocks” of everything that we perceive in consensual reality … so trillions and trillions of really weird “bits” create the seemingly normal universe that surrounds us. It is rather like looking at a newspaper photograph. From a distance one can see the image and it looks normal … but as we look in closer we discover it is made up of identical tiny dots of ink. It is the dots that create the image but each dot is the same…… but for the vast majority of those wedded to the nice, secure, mechanistic model of the world as suggested by Newtonian physics (which is what most people understand to be the “state of the art” and therefore a total explanation of everything) there is nothing “odd” about reality, and those of us who believe that it is very odd …. are usually labelled as being …..odd!
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